Restaurant news for Willa Jean, CellarDoor and Avo


Besh Restaurant Group pastry chefs Kelly Fields (left) and LIsa White (right) open their bakery and cafe Willa Jean Aug. 6 inside the Paramount. - COURTESY THE BESH RESTAURANT GROUP
  • Besh Restaurant Group pastry chefs Kelly Fields (left) and LIsa White (right) open their bakery and cafe Willa Jean Aug. 6 inside the Paramount.

Willa Jean (611 O'Keefe Ave.; the new cafe and bakery from Besh Restaurant Group chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White, opens Aug. 6 in the Paramount building in the Central Business District.

The 80-seat restaurant will be open daily and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Fields, the executive pastry chef, named the restaurant after her grandmother. Fields and White, the bakery's pastry chef, are partnering with John Besh in the venture, having both worked at his restaurants Domenica and Pizza Domenica

The bakery will serve fresh baked bread, pastries, desserts, snacks, salads and sandwiches. Menu items include pigs in blanket with apricot mustard, fried chicken biscuits topped with pickled jalapeno relish and a grains and legumes salad dressed with almonds and vinaigrette. Also on the menu: Intelligentsia coffee, boozy slushies and tea-infused cocktails.

CBD gastropub CellarDoor (916 Lafayette St., 504-383-5583) now serves lunch. The new menu includes sandwiches, several salads and a burger. Most dishes feature ingredients that reflect chef Jamielyn Arcega’s Filipino and global culinary style. 

Grilled chicken torta features a lime and mescal marinade and is dressed with bacon, avocado and chimichurri sauce. Cauliflower crust pizzetta is topped with masala tomato sauce, black olives, kale and red peppers.

Salads include a crispy goat cheese version with mixed greens dressed with Steen’s Cane syrup herb vinaigrette and lemon grass chicken salad tossed with greens and vegetables.

Larger dishes include a burger on a brioche bun topped with onion jam and a Korean-inspired bulgogi beef bowl topped with grilled Two Run Farm chuck eye steak, served with chilled rice noodles, vegetables and roasted carrot tahini.

With the exception of a few popular mainstays from the dinner menu the lunch offerings are distinct from the evening fare. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Uptown Italian newcomer Avo (5908 Magazine St., 504-509-6550) offers a truffle dinner series in August. 

Chef Nick Lama kicked off the summer menu July 28. Dishes include tuna crudo with leeks, king trumpet mushrooms, parsley and truffle oil; foie gras and truffle terrine with ciabatta, cherry mostarda, pistachio and pickled vegetables; herb tagliarini with black truffles and Parmesan, and confit veal breast with gnocchi alla Romana, wild mushrooms, black truffles and veal jus.

The specials will be offered in addition to Avo’s existing menu of seasonal Italian fare. 

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